Just Cause 2
Any person who plays games on a regular basis will quickly realize that Just Cause 2 is not their favorite game that they've ever played. In comparison to franchises like the Halo series, Uncharted or Metal Gear Solid (*cough* movies *cough*) games, their frankly won't be people who state that Just Cause 2 blew them all of out the water and became their own hobby for a month. The reality is, that despite never being a Game of the Year candidate the game Just Cause 2 is still a game worth owning or at the very least renting. I say this because Just Cause 2 may be one of the most fun sandbox video games that I've ever played & where it lacks in story and in missions it justifies itself in it's vast world and character freedom.
The second game of the series once again focuses on protagonist Rico Rodriguez, who is working for the US government on the remote island of Panau. The player works alongside the trio of factions scattered around the island while completing missions, doing challenges and sabotaging most anything to stick it dictator. The island itself is vast in size and basically a playground for Rico to propel himself around using his parachute and grappling hook. The mechanics in this game work fairly well and succeed wherever the first Just Cause game fell short. In fact, the entire sequel outdoes its' original in sheer scale and fun.
Following the second mission in the campaign, the player has the option of continuing his quest to align himself with Panau's factions or to branch off and explore while creating havoc around the island. The latter is highly recommended because for everything that this game does right in making a fun experience in free roam, its loses some of its glamor in story and in missions. The voice acting is sadly painful to listen to at some points and the writing quickly had myself rolling my eyes. It's predictable and drawn out and throughout the cut scenes I found myself drumming my fingers on my couch waiting to once again do something ridiculous including a plane, a poor soldier and my grappling hook at the top of the highest mountain.
The game also sports its fair share of small bugs that - are more often - frustrating while being slightly hilarious. Multiple times I've wondered why I've died from an awkward free fall or why Rico has decided that the inside of the map must be explored as well. The Ps3 offers a neat option for moments like these in having the game record the last 30s of what you're doing at all times, and while also having the setting of recording 10 min. clips (with the ability to upload directly to Youtube). This is perfect for moments of your finest free falls, greatest explosions or annoying glitches.
For the amount of small problems with this game (that the majority can be avoided by merely muting your television while watching cutscenes) the game outweighs its flaws in good features. The graphics themselves are impressive and the scope of the island and detail is fantastic. The controls are fairly easy to get used to, although traveling by parachute is something that can take some getting used to. Once done however, the form of traveling can often be more rewarding than using the nearest car or following the closest road.
Overall the game outdoes its original in all areas and rewards the gamer with a few hours of fun before becoming a little repetitive and frustrating. I recommend playing the game as casually as possible and in smaller doses to keep the experience just as fun and fresh every time the consoles turned on. Like the Grand Theft Auto games have done in the past, Just Cause 2 can provide hours of "What if I grappled that thing to..." or "I wonder if I surfed my plane and..." and will be one of the few games I bought just for that reason.